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Thread: More on Kodak

  1. #61
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Of course there were efforts to 'work out' the steel mills problems, but it was easier to just close them and move operations to the new automated plants elsewhere. Some workers were given the option to relocate, others were not. This was a very rapid transition that left small towns almost empty of industry. I have pictures of the empty plants and big parking lots along the Monongahela river from Clairton to Pittsburgh. Among others, the worlds largest seamless tube mill closed rather abruptly after a large expansion and modernization. They did not move elsewhere AFAIK, the Japanese industry took over.

    As far as Japan is concerned, where did the money to rebuild come from? The USA.

    As for the caste system, it still exists. The system is built into Japanese and you see it when the people bow and still prostrate themselves on the street when the Emperor's limousine drives by in downtown Tokyo. At least that is what took place when Hirohito was alive, and when I last visited Tokyo.

    I have seen the Hachioji steel mills and the Konishiroku Photo plant next to them with my own eyes. The mills were flattened during the bombing of Japan and rebuilt from nothing afterwards with our financing.

    Japanese plants in the US are productive for one reason. High levels of automation reduce the levels of manpower needed to run them. Many parts are made in Japan and the final assembly only takes place in the US. Therefore the savings is still part of the equation.

    In addition, it is not unknown for Japanese laborers to work 24 hour shifts with a cot next to the production line for naps. Their wives or gfs bring in fresh clothing and food. They had a saying that translates loosely 'we have to do this to stay ahead of the US'.

    Deming had a great influence on improving Japanese quality control. That was his major reason for assisting them.

    I came upon a group of Japanese engineers at COMDEX once looking at a computer display. They blocked the aisle and were talking. They said approximately "hey this is good and it was made in America". It made me feel rather sad. BTW, the comparable Japanese product was good, came out a year later or so by reverse engineering, and was less expensive by a rather large margin.

    Just to stay on-topic, much Fuji film and paper is coated in Japan and the master rolls are slit and chopped here in the US. Some of the accrued advantage is shipping a Japanese product from the US to other parts of the world, as trade restrictions between the US and the rest of the world is often less than between Japan and the rest of the world (AFAIK and remember - it has been a few years since I researched this so things may have changed).

    PE

  2. #62
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
    ... As for the caste system, it still exists.
    Of COURSE it does. Please re-read what I have written: NEARLY eliminate the *intense* caste system - and this is more true in the Industrial settings than on the street. I did not say ENTIRELY eliminate. It was a MAJOR reduction in the barriers between worker and supervisor, in comparison to what went on before.

    The Japanese have been known to work 24 hours a day. Amazing!! Do you want me to count the times I have done that, here in the USA, working on the Space Program?

    Someday, if I have the energy, I'll write about the largest FIASCO I've ever seen of heard about - the relocation of a manufacturing line to one of the "Third World" Countries to save labor costs. "They'll work of $2.50 a DAY!!!" But -- they could make the same amount of money harvesting bananas ... so the work force was severely unstable... and there were *no* funds for training.
    Eight months and $$$$$ later, the parent company had all in-process work shipped to home base. We didn't even bother opening all the boxes - just took them to the nearest landfill and dumped it all.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  3. #63
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    How many times does the average line auto worker work 24 hours / day?

    Of course there are people everywhere who work long hours, but the proportion of Japanese doing it is much higher than here and it has lead to the high suicide rate that has been documented in the press. Japanese are very stressed out due to this pressure, and the peer pressure is part of the residual caste system.

    It is hard to eliminate and still exists as a strong force, particularly in the countryside. The reason it is hard to eliminate is partly due to the language which has so many words relating to cast. In fact, when I speak the language, I am always cognizant of the term "me ue" and "me shita" or above my eyes (upper caste) and below my eyes (lower caste) implying 3 casts, upper, equal and lower.

    I am also quite aware of the fact that women in Japan speak differently than men using entirely different verb inflections related to their lower caste in society.

    And so a man would say "yoi otenki desu" (good weather) and a woman being lower caste and deferential would say "yoi otenki desho, ne" (probably good weather, don't you think) in approximate translation. One Japanese instructor (a woman) had a hard time teaching men, as she had to speak using the male verb forms, and she was trained to never do this in polite society.

    I'm aware of similar fiascos to yours, seeing that after one large company relocated to Maylasia, their electronic equipment had an astounding 20% out of box failure rate.

    I suggest that you search this forum and other photo forums for people complaining about Eastern European films. They complain about soft emulsions, grain, streaks, curl and other problems. Having film made by non-first line companies wherever they are is chancy too.

    PE

  4. #64

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    Jeez....I wish Kodak would hurry up and die & take this thread with it!

  5. #65

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    Actually, labor is the largest percentage of costs for most businesses.
    The hourly wage or salary is a small part. Consider health care, pensions, contributions to match social security, unemployment insurance contributions to the state, liability coverage for the company and costs or training replacement workers or new hires. The costs excelerated dramatically in the 80s as businesses became the provider for health insurance coverage which in turn started the cylcle of spiraling health care costs.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  6. #66

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    Uh, I think pharamaceutical companies, technology advances in medical imaging, etc. and the for-profit health care organizations are the real drivers in higher medical costs. Whether a company partially or fully funds a health plan is immaterial. But this is way OT now.
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl Dunbar
    Uh, I think pharamaceutical companies, technology advances in medical imaging, etc. and the for-profit health care organizations are the real drivers in higher medical costs. Whether a company partially or fully funds a health plan is immaterial. But this is way OT now.
    The consumer, single person or a business that provides medical coverage, determines the cost. As long as business pays the premiums the insurance provider will pay for all the new technology. The insurance companies simply pass along the costs in higher premiums. As long as the costs can continue to be passed along, pharmas, and tech companies will increase their prices.

    Eventually, most employers will have to bail out of providing health care or provide a very minimum coverage, similar to what is beginning to happen with pension plans.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  8. #68

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    What the market will bear, yes. But pharmas, equipment providers, etc., could voluntarily elect to take a lower profit in the interest of health and the common good for an essential service. "Your health is our obscene profit" is not exactly the hallmark of a civilized culture.

    Earl
    Honey, I promise no more searching eBay for cameras.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
    The consumer, single person or a business that provides medical coverage, determines the cost. .
    Not quite. The insurance companies deal with the billing to bring it down - for them. Example, the surgery to reattach my thumb was billed at about $19,000. The final bill was $8000 because the insurance company negotiated it down. They always do that with big bills.

    The insurance companies determine what's paid out. They determine how they will bill anyone, including you. The insurance companies have more money than the government! It's true. Sad.

    (I did tell them just to trim the dangler off and let me go thumbless, but they drugged me and next thing I knew I was in surgery. Drugged me! No kidding. One is not competent with a head full of morphine.)

    But their days are limited. A single-health plan is in your children's future.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjstafford
    One is not competent with a head full of morphine.)
    Only time Organic Chemistry made sense in college was post kidney stone, with me on Morphine. So I guess the old addage of better living through chemistry has a double meaning.
    Non Digital Diva

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